BARRIE, Ontario — With temperatures soaring into the 90s before the gates
even opened, it became all too clear that the annual Edgefest was
going to be a test of patience and endurance for both the fans and
With nowhere to hide from the scorching sun, the lethargic and
eclectic attendees slowly filled Molson Park, hoping for something to get their
minds off the heat. They didn’t have to wait long.
When a planned 3:20 p.m. set by Sevendust was postponed due to a problem with
the band crossing Canada’s border, Jerry Cantrell was asked to swap spots
with the metal quintet. The seemingly simple flip-flop of set
times ended up creating a rift that echoed throughout the large crowd for
the remainder of the day.
Taking the stage in blue jeans with black leather accents, a wallet chain
and a black T-shirt, Jerry Cantrell exuded the spirit of a carefree man
ready to share material from his former band Alice in Chains and his latest solo release,
Degradation Trip, with an early afternoon crowd.
For Cantrell, things got off to a good enough start, but quickly lapsed
into a series of frustrating mishaps. Opening with the thick, rolling
fuzz of “Them Bones,” Cantrell performed a faithful version of the Alice in Chains hit. The tightly packed crowd around the stage chanted “Jerry, Jerry!” in response.
Things started to fall apart at the beginning of another
Alice in Chains classic, “Would?,” in which Cantrell’s guitar shorted out before
the deep opening bass groove even had a chance to finish. While an
apologetic Cantrell rushed to fix his equipment, he acknowledged his
chanting supporters by saying, “If you can bear with us, we’ll try to get
through as much as we can for you.”
Midway through “Right Turn,” Cantrell was reunited with a working guitar
to close out a mellow rendition of the Sap EP track. After tripping on a
microphone cable moments before launching into his latest single, “Anger
Rising,” it was clear that Cantrell was not happy with the direction of
“Anger Rising” would prove to be the last song in his abbreviated set
list, but not before Cantrell threw his guitar to the ground and left the
crowd with a disparaging remark toward Sevendust. Cantrell omitted the
“dust” in Sevendust and substituted a four-letter obscenity in letting the
crowd know who was up next.
Crossing the stage shirtless and in black, shiny pants, Sevendust frontman Lajon Witherspoon not only brought music from the quintet’s latest
release, Animosity, to the Edgefest crowd, but didn’t hide his animosity
“When Jerry Cantrell says f— Sevendust, I say f— you, Jerry Cantrell,”
Witherspoon proclaimed before reiterating the message by saying, “I hope you heard me, Jerry Cantrell.” With no love lost between the apparently now-feuding parties, Sevendust
ripped into an aggressive cut, “Waffle,” before leaving the stage in an
equally disturbed fashion as Cantrell.
The festival’s four stages proved to be too great of a distance apart for many to hike
more than once in the overwhelming heat. “I came here to see Jerry
Cantrell, and now that he’s upset, that took a little bit of the fun out
of the experience for me,” attendee Hal Sultani of Windsor,
The young, predominantly college-age crowd crossed the grounds of Molson
Park in everything from practical bathing suits to jeans and winter
stocking caps. Of course, many were draped in Canadian flags in
celebration of the national holiday, Canada Day. What little shade was available was immediately filled with exhausted fans who slept or drank as much water as they could at nearly four bucks a bottle.
Melissa Auf Der Maur rattled the second stage crowd with her Black
Sabbath tribute band, Hand of Doom, which churned out new takes on a slew of
tracks from the classic catalogue, including “Paranoid,” “Sweet
Leaf” and “War Pigs.” Sporting a near-transparent white outfit and a
Canadian flag as a cape, Auf Der Maur wished the intrigued crowd a “happy
Black Sabbath day every day this summer,” before her exit.
Headliners Nickelback brought straight-ahead rock to a climax
after a mildly received Cake, with a tight, one-hour set that
pulled a wealth of material from their breakthrough album, Silver Side Up,
and maximized speaker wattage on the cuts “Too Bad” and crowd sing-along
“How You Remind Me.” At the end of the day, though, the tired, somewhat
frustrated fans filed out of Molson Park just as quietly as they had
entered, hoping to find refuge in air-conditioned cars and to pull up a
seat at their kitchen sinks for a long night of drinking water.
For more sights and stories from concerts around the world, check out MTV News Tour Reports.